Future Travel Plans

There was a time when travel was sleek and sophisticated (and inaccessible). Frank Sinatra sang about flying. I remember finding an old PanAm in-flight service menu my grandfather ha kept in his attic. There was real food that you might actually want to eat. The newest installments in the NASA/JPL Visions of the Future poster series invite us to imagine travel across our solar system and the galaxy with nostalgia for the optimism of mid-20th Century travel and hope that the future of space exploration is sexier than The Martian.

Science for the People: Impossible Space

sftpThis week Science for the People is exploring the limits of science exploration in both fictional and fact. We’re joined by “lifelong space nerd” Andy Weir, to talk about his debut novel The Martian (and soon to be film, trailer below), that pits human invenitveness and ingenuity against the unforgiving environment of the red planet. And astrophysicist and science blogger Ethan Siegel returns to explore so-called “impossible space engines“, and what news stories about them can teach us about journalism and science literacy.

*Josh provides research & social media help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

Science for the People: Private Sector Space

sftp-square-fistonly-whitebgThis week, Science for the People is learning how private enterprise has jumped in to fill the gap left by shrinking government budgets for space exploration. They’re joined by journalist Elmo Keep, to talk about her article on Mars One, a nonprofit planning to make a reality show out of a one-way trip to colonize the red planet.  And they’ll get an update on the state of the for-profit space industry with Space News Senior Editor Jeff Foust.

*Josh provides research help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

What the Philae are you doing here?

UPDATE 12 NOV 2014 11:10AM (ET): Apollo 11 shit went down today. No matter what else we might be, we are a species that landed a robot on a comet about 500 million kilometers away for the purpose of scientific exploration. Not too shabby.

UPDATE 12 NOV 2014 11:54AM (ET): There is concern that Philae has not anchored to the comet properly. They are working on it.

Look, we appreciate you stopping by; but humanity is trying to land a robot on a comet for the first time ever. There is Apollo 11 level shit going down today. You can watch the ESA’s webcast live with us. The Philae lander is scheduled to touch down at about 11:00 AM (US Eastern).

xkcd by Randall Munroe (CC BY-NC 2.5)
xkcd by Randall Munroe (CC BY-NC 2.5)

Over at xkcd, Randall Munroe is doing live updates of the Philae lander’s progress (and its internal monologue).

HT: Emily Lakdawalla (whom you should be reading today)

Rosetta Rendezvous, commemorated in LEGOs

by Stefan Schindler (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)
“Rosetta – arrival at the comet” by Stefan Schindler (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

After a ten-year odyssey, the ESA Rosetta spacecraft rendezvoused with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in early August. In honor of this momentous series of events, we wanted to share this delightful LEGO model* from Stefan Schindler (Stefan has been featured here before). Continue reading “Rosetta Rendezvous, commemorated in LEGOs”